Pence Expected at Event Marking Auschwitz Liberation

YERUSHALAYIM -
US Vice President Mike Pence at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Yerushalayim, in January 2018Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to join a number of world leaders for the upcoming event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

Israeli officials had hoped that President Donald Trump would be there, but a scheduling conflict with his appearance at the World Economic Forum was given as the reason for his declining any invitation.

American and Israeli officials are in consultation about Pence coming instead, though it’s not been finalized. Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the dignitaries expected to attend the gathering on January 27 in Yerushalayim, organized by President Reuven Rivlin and Yad Vashem.

According to Haaretz, the memorial event has become a source of tension between Rivlin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ over who will preside.

Rivlin’s staff is reportedly objecting to what they perceive as Netanyahu’s attempt to exploit the high-profile gathering to further his re-election campaign.

The Trump administration was also said to be wary of the possibility of Pence’s visit being used to help one side or the other in the electoral campaign, according to two people who are involved in the ongoing talks over Pence’s visit.